SANDWICH – The Civil War ended in spring 1865, but the 10th Illinois Infantry Re-enactment Group has brought the war between the North and South back to life in Sandwich for the weekend.
The 10th Illinois Infantry Reenactment Group has set up a living history encampment at James Knights Park, 1001 N. Latham St. On Friday, more than 300 Sandwich students visited the encampment, which demonstrates how soldiers spent their time when not in battle.
The encampment is free and open to the public, with demonstrations given from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The encampment is sponsored by the 10th Illinois Regiment, the Sandwich Historical Society and the Sandwich Park District.
The encampment includes tents, artillery, historical artifacts and replicas and demonstrations of marching, rifle firing, wartime medical treatments and embalming methods.
The re-enactment group hosts the annual event on the weekend closest to April 19, which is the anniversary of the forming of the Company H Sandwich Union Guards at Freeland Corner in Sandwich. April 20 to 22, 1861, were the mustering dates of training for the 112 men who volunteered with the Sandwich Union Guard, which later became part of the 10th Illinois Infantry.
“I think that it’s important to show the public what that period in history was like,” said Gerry Bliss, a re-enactor from Elk Grove Village. “There are parallels to what we’re facing today, including fighting for rights and social issues. By portraying men from the company that came from this town, we can bring the Civil War to life.”